Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

Sunlight pours onto Cape Disappointment Lighthouse at the overlook of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, one of 11 sites participating in Pacific County Museum Month.

Several weeks ago, it was suggested to me at lunch with family visiting Manzanita, to some surprise, that I must know “more about the history of this place than about where I grew up.”

Not about Manzanita, but “this place” meaning the coverage area of Coast Weekend, the coastal towns I’d been local to for less than a year. If that’s true, part of it is owed to the nature of being an editor, filing through articles about historic architecture, museum exhibits and the like, but it’s also due to the remarkable extent that the Columbia-Pacific region remains connected to its past.

This month, eleven museums on the Washington side of the Columbia River have banded together to celebrate that spirit, establishing May as Pacific County Museum Month.

To mark the occasion, the Appelo Archives Center, which focuses on the history of the Naselle-Grays River Valley, including the region’s Scandinavian heritage, will offer free slices of pulla, a traditional Finnish cardamom bread. At Raymond’s Willapa Seaport Museum, one curator has organized a nautical scavenger hunt.

Other museums — dedicated to tribal heritage, cranberry farming, kite varieties, historic carriages and the travels of the Lewis and Clark Expedition — will offer discounts and reveal new exhibits throughout the month.

Take it as an excuse to visit a museum, whether you’ve arrived on the coast for the first time or have lived here for a lot longer than I have. It’s something that often goes forgotten in the places that seem so familiar already.

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